Friday, January 29, 2016

Tree tapping for syrup.

With Spring being only a few months away here in the N.East, it's time to start thinking of what trees to tap. We all know about sugar and red maples being our prime desire for some delicious flapjack topping; but what about those other trees that also have a liquid treasure to yield?

Here's a good article about 22 trees that can be tapped.

>>> 22 Trees that can be tapped for syrup!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Off-Grid Security & Surveillance

Security is the #1 concern for many of us who put our time, effort and attention into our secluded projects. Whether it’s our off-grid homestead, or recreational cabin, weekend getaway, private campsite, or even our backwoods toolshed – many of us face that lingering fear of one day coming to our site to find the windows smashed in and our furnishings gone. And since our facilities are without a consistent power source, we lack an “affordable” way to keep an eye on what’s happening when we’re around.

 This was a concern for us for years, until the day we came up to our cabin to find the locks on the doors broken and the place ransacked. Now, something’s been done.

Relatively affordable, easy to maintain, easy to conceal, and easy on batteries – is the Moultrie M-880 Game Camera. 

-cheap (for a good game camera)
-small & easy to conceal 
-holds up well against the elements
-takes standard SD card 
-good battery life (we change ours twice per year)

 -Nighttime Infrared can give the camera’s presence away. 
 (We covered ours with electrical tape and use landscape lighting to aid in night photos) 
-Sensitive to leaf/wind movements (like branches) 
-not black-bear tamper proof! 

We purchased and installed 3 of these M-880’s around our main site. This model is small enough to give you some wiggle-room for creativity in its concealment. We buried two into the surrounding landscape (nearly invisible unless you know what to look for) and one is hidden within one of the several massive sandstone piles (in the natural landscape). 

While these cameras are fully capable of taking decent video (with audio) recordings; we have ours set to 3 photos (5 seconds apart) for every 30 seconds of activity detected. This present setting allows our cameras to record about 3 months at a time on the 16GB SD cards – without needing cleaned off every week. Otherwise, we only check and clear the cards when we notice that someone’s been on the property (a few hidden trip wires we have set). 

Some photos from one of my 3 hidden cameras of the past 2 years: (note, the time-stamps on most of these were in reverse - A.M. instead of P.M.)


Neighbors (un-beknownst to us)



Grandpa & Uncle

( SPOTTED! ... the cam has since been re-hidden)

Mama bear
bob cat

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vipukirves Leveraxe 2 : Reviewed by Work'n Man's Life

So we just got in this new sample axe, the Leveraxe (2nd model) by Vipukirves.

Per the informative descriptions of this axe on at the manufacturer's website, this product is supposed to be able to almost effortlessly crack a log apart.

Leveraxe Models 2 & 1 (left to right)


Right out of the box, this axe stands apart from any other I've ever held. First thing I noticed was how incredibly light it is! Weighing in at a meek 4.8 lbs, this birch handled splitter doesn't "feel" like something that could do all that much to the maple and locust we had standing by.

Then there's the design of the axe head itself: claw-shaped hard stainless steel, with a slightly blunted edge. Again, leaving a little doubt in my assumption as to whether or not it would hold up against what I was about to put it through. Though the manufacturer states that the "Leveraxe is based on a lever mechanism and rotation action. The operational principle of the Leveraxe is totally different from the traditional axe. The axe head is attached to the handle from the side and not through the center. This results in the centre of the gravity of the axe head being to one side of the center line of strike."  


The principle method of the axe is in the rotation of its head as it bears down onto the log, thus diverting the downward force into a sideways one. The user is instructed to "loosen" their grip on the handle at the moment of impact, so as to allow the head to do its thing (instead of trying to drive the head into the wood). The user should also aim slightly off center of the log, again to allow the sideward rotation to "kick" the split piece out.

Even in the enclosed instructions, the use of a tire (or other harnessing barrier such as a chain or bungie chords) is recommended to keep the pieces in place while the user continues the desired splitting.  For our demonstration however, I opted to forego the barrier - as to allow the pieces to fly where they may and see just how far they may fly.  ;)

***  No Work'n Man's Wife was harmed in the demonstration of this product!  ***


As you can see in our video demonstration, we tested this axe (on film) on a variety of sizes and pieces of both seasoned & wet maple and locust logs. We selected these for their density, and popularity around these parts as typical firewood.

At first swing, it was difficult to not regard this axe like the 8lb chopping maul that I'm use to swinging over my head! Its unbelievably light weight just makes it "seem" incapable of the task at hand. .... That being said; I am IMPRESSED at how effortlessly it tore these logs apart!

There were a few chops in which I ended up embedding the axehead into the wood. All of these were only on wet wood, and (as my brother pointed out) I was having a difficult time letting myself "loosen the grip" on the birch handle as the axe came down. It's certainly counterintuitive when you're use to holding a firm grip on those weighted mauls - to now telling yourself to 'take it easy.' But sure enough, loosening the grip makes for an instant split each time.


Later Follow-up with seasoned ash:

For more information about the Leveraxe product, you can visit the manufacturer's website: 

Disclosure: Work'n Man's Life received a sample LeverAxe 2 from Vipukirves for this review. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and have in no way been influenced by or reflect those of Vipukirves.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ailments & Elixirs : Sore Throat Fixins

In this segment of ~Ailments & Elixirs~ , Leisha shows us some old folk remedies to soothe an ailing throat. These sure aint no kinderspiel for the faint at heart! So do take care if'n you're sensitive to spices!

(please don't substitute this for professional medical guidance)

We like to sip on this tea throughout the day whenever we have a cold or sore throat, and use the fire-shot about twice daily or whenever the pain is too reckoning.

 Got a sore-throat remedy of your own? Share below in the comments!